2/3/21. Fixed G6 connections as it was an accidental duplicate of the K5 Pro.
2/7/21. Added Video.
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Let’s take a deep dive and compare 4 great console gaming DAC/Amps that can also be used on your desktop. How do they compare – sound and features wise? Which one should you consider first? All of these answers and more, comin’ up…
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All of these are Amp/DAC combos that come in at similar price points save for the Mojo. The D1, K5 Pro, and G6 come in at roughly $130 – $170, and the Mojo around $500-600.
They are all built very well, but the Mojo has been known to fail after some time. Not all users are having issues, but it’s something to keep in mind.
The K5 Pro and G6 have gain features, and I’d feel comfortable driving anything 0 – 600 Ohm. The D1 does not have gain, and I’d consider the ceiling at around 300 Ohm. It does very well with an HD600/650, but I wouldn’t rely on it for anything more demanding than that.
The Mojo has plenty of power and no gain feature, but you likely won’t need it.
The Mojo also happens to be the only one here that utilizes its volume and power functions a bit differently than the others. Instead of a volume potentiometer, it has little globe balls that are pretty fun to play with. They also change colors depending on sample rate and volume. More on that in the official Chord Mojo review!
None of these have a bass boost, but the G6 is perhaps the most feature-rich, with its SBX (Virtual 5.1 surround), and Scout Mode features, as well as both a 3.5mm headphone jack and mic inputs for FPS gaming. This immediately separates it from the others from a competitive standpoint, as you can use it both casually and/or with a party. The Best Gaming Setup For Beginners [Gaming Setup Ideas!]
All 4 have the optical input for use with a console, so either way, you’ll be able to chill on the couch with some movies or single-player games, both of which I personally love when I’m maxin’ and relaxin’.
All can be connected to powered speakers. Both the D1 and K5 Pro utilize RCA outs for the task, while the G6 and Mojo opt for the 3.5mm line. In the case of the G6, there is a line out. For the Mojo, the 3.5mm can be used as a line in or out. For both, just use a 3.5mm to RCA and shut up. Syke.
While the G6 and K5 Pro both have inputs (3.5mm and RCA respectively), the Mojo and D1 do not.
Now that all that technical mumbo jumbo is out of the way, how do they sound in relation to one another?
Glad you aksed, homie.
As many of you day 1 bass heads know, the Mojo is my second favorite Amp/DAC soundwise right behind the venerable Bryston BHA-1. The Mojo, like the Bryston, is incredibly rich and textured, with perfect resolution, clarity, detail, intimacy, speed, etc. It’s simply sublime in every way. Some may not like its warmish tone, but I personally fell in love. The Bryston leaned more towards neutral and snappy:
The Bryston is a beast: It has loads of power, a good selection of inputs and outputs, and it drives every headphone well. Even the Hifiman HE-6 sounds decent. Generally, it is a very neutral amplifier but is leaning slightly towards the snappier and crisper side, without becoming “edgy” or bright. I was very impressed with it in 2012, end even more so after spending some real time with it in 2019. Highly recommended. Headphoneer
The D1 bears a similar sentiment to the Mojo, but its performance isn’t quite on par. It’s certainly no slouch though. I’d categorize it as being on the warmer side (10 Ohm output impedance), and does incredibly well paired with an HD650 on a console or with music. Full-bodied, enjoyable sound all around. So turn that frown upside down, clown!
The K5 Pro follows suit here. At 1.2 Ohm output impedance, it strikes a nice balance of warm and neutral.
I’d consider the G6 just shy of neutral here, and perhaps the most “crisp” and clean out of all of these at 1 Ohm output impedance. What is Output Impedance? For a product targeted at mostly consumers and gamers, this piece functions more like something an audiophile would rely on.
Some audiophile snobs may scoff at this notion, but the G6 is an incredible performer at its price point or otherwise. They’re basically giving it away at around $130 considering everything it’s capable of.
FPS gamers, vinyl lovers, and film addicts should look to the G6 first. It’s a product that covers all the bases and looks classy doing so. Don’t underestimate the power of the G6, figuratively or otherwise. You can even download an app and EQ any headphone to your liking, a great feature for some of those brattier cans that could benefit from some slight alterations (cough overhyped treble cough). ‘Scuse me.
The important takeaway is that the sound of these 4 DACS is very similar, with slightly contrasting tones and flavors. I’ve demoed countless songs with an array of different headphones with all of these over the last couple of years.
DON’T OVERTHINK IT!
I generally shy away from recommending DACS based on how they sound in relation to one another though, because after demoing close to 50 at the time of this article, it largely doesn’t matter.
They are all very similar at the end of the day. Headphone differences are much more apparent and noteworthy. I recommend Amps & DACS mostly based on specs, features, power, and output impedance, and always have. The Mojo is an outlier to me sound-wise, but it has some other issues that prevent me from recommending it outright nowadays.
So with that, how would I rank them?
I’d hands-down get a G6 first. It’s a jack of all trades and even more versatile than the K5 Pro. If you’re an FPS gamer, audiophile, film buff, music lover, vinyl spinner, etc., it’s an incredibly easy purchase.
The K5 Pro is a close second, followed by the D1 and then the Mojo.
The D1 was my original do all Amp/DAC until I tried the K5 Pro. The K5 Pro held the spot until I tried the G6, and since then, I haven’t come across anything more capable.
What puts the G6 over the top for me is the mic input, EQ feature, Scout mode, and SBX. There’s simply nothing else you could ask for in a product like this. It’s an almost perfect cross-section of the audiophile, consumer, and gamer demographic.
If you aren’t a hardcore gamer nerd, you don’t need a mic, you don’t care about EQ, and are more of an audiophile type who plans to run MQA, get the K5 Pro.
And that’s my FINAL ANSWER!!
Check out what Pretty Bond Girl had to say on the newest Cobalt video:
Yo! First thought… if only you had listened to your music at 1,000,003 hz it may just have made ALL the difference! 🙂 Thanks to your good self I’m happy with my Creative SoundblasterX G6. Oh, and your $100 bills look kinda different to what I expected. Do they leave out a couple of zeros as a cost-saving measure?! Always enjoy your reviews – thanks for helping me become more enlightened whilst saving me money in the process! Stay safe dude. 🙂PrettyBondGirl (Twitch Streamer)
Stu is determined to help you make sound decisions, and strives to deliver the best and most in depth content on the internet! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, pray, rap, make beats, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His sense of humour, coupled with a knack for excellence and strict attention to detail are what allow him to stand out in an crowded industry.